The Green Building Council of Australia recognises environmental advances by Australian PVC manufacturers.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has a set of building rating tools (Green Star) that evaluate the environmental design and construction of buildings. Green Star has achieved widespread acceptance by developers and government.
Early versions of the Green Star ratings tool contained a PVC minimisation clause. However a review in 2010 found that significant improvements had been made on the Australian PVC industry.
“A rigorous PVC literature review revealed that where international opposition to PVC remained it was based on historical industry practices which had led to unacceptable health risks and/or environmental impacts. These concerns did not take into account the significant achievements within the PVC industry in recent years, particularly in Australia and Europe, to reduce the environmental and human health risks previously associated with PVC building materials. In addition, these concerns did not reflect the findings of independent scientific assessments, as well as comparative risk and impact
studies, between PVC and non-PVC alternative materials.”1
Download the full report from the GBCA website.
The PVC literature review found that, while there are still some challenges to be addressed, PVC performs as well as, or better than, the alternatives in most product categories. Furthermore, it found that environmental and human health risks associated with PVC can be minimised by using best practices in the manufacturing and end-of-life management phases of the PVC life cycle.
In April 2010, the GBCA introduced the new PVC credit to all the Green Star tools which effectively:
- Removed the minimisation approach. PVC in general will not be penalised when used in projects in recognition of the fact that “PVC performs as well as, or better than, the alternatives in most product categories” 1 – this is definitely the case for PVC pipe.
- Adopts a new approach which rewards the use of “best practice” PVC. The new credit encourages the use of independently verified “best practice” PVC products with the potential award of up to two additional credit points where such products are used.
- One additional credit point where 60% of PVC products (by cost) complies with the independently verified Best Practice Guidelines for PVC in Built Environment
- Two additional credit points where 90% of PVC products comply.
Best Practice PVC Pipe in the Australian Built Environment – Vinidex PVC pipe ticks the boxes
The verification guidelines for Best Environmental Practice PVC are detailed in Industry Guidelines. The guidelines cover the environmental impacts and health risks associated with the manufacture and end life management of PVC products used in buildings. They include strict minimum compliance requirements for PVC supply chain constituents, PVC resin production, PVC product manufacture and end of life management – recycling.
The Australian Standards that cover PVC pipe and fittings are being amended to incorporate the GBCA Best Environmental Practice requirements. A number of amended standards have already been published.
Vinidex PVC pipes have been independently certified as complying with BEP Guidelines.
1. GBCA “Background and Outcomes of the Green Star PVC Minimisation Credit Review”